An oldie but an interesting study.

Quote Originally Posted by Gelpi, Feaver, 'Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick? Veterans in the Political Elite and the American Use of Force'
Other research has shown (1) that civilians and the military differ in their views about when and how to use military force; (2) that the opinions of veterans track more closely with military officers than with civilians who never served in the military; and (3) that U.S. civil–military relations shaped Cold War policy debates. We assess whether this opinion gap “matters” for the actual conduct of American foreign policy.We examine the impact of the presence of veterans in theU.S. political elite on the propensity to initiate and escalate militarized interstate disputes between 1816 and 1992. As the percentage of veterans serving in the executive branch and the legislature increases, the probability that the United States will initiate militarized disputes declines. Once a dispute has been initiated, however, the higher the proportion of veterans, the greater the level of force the United States will use in the dispute.